Andy Bell and Vince Clarke are on top form on the first of two ‘due to public demand’ nights for Erasure at Manchester Apollo.
Last seen on our pages with the Neon album review, Andy and Vince are an unlikely duo. Always have been. Vince stood studiously at the back, in as much shadow as you can find on a colourfully lit neon stage while his pal hams it up in abundance. The stage is his oyster.
To the unbelievers or casual onlookers, it may seem that Vince could even be doing his (or someones else’s) accounts or running though his emails, decked out in his well cut grey suit, buttoned up firmly and with a tie pin keeping everything in place. He’s the one who keep the music in place though; his electronic genius emitting forth from what to the untrained eye looks like a too simple set up bit of gadgetry.
But like our review that declared Neon as “relentless in an outpouring of superb songs” (thanks Paul S-B!) the show follows suit. Most fans would have delighted in the choice of the Joe 90 theme as the intro music, the iconic spinning vortex whirling away on the video screen, before the lights revealed each of three platforms occupied by Clarke, Andy Bell twirling around the mic stand and his two backing singers – their inappropriately thick fur coats soon to be cast aside form something more in keeping. It was that hot.
The hits dominate the onslaught from the jukebox pulsing from the stage and there are plenty of them. It feels like we’ve travelled back thirty years with a greatest hits/Pop! set yet with a glimpse into Erasure future which doesn’t look too different. There may be a few extra lines around the eyes, the skin might not be quite as tight and aided by sparkly blue corsetry (from which he was literally cut free later) but we’ re all having a ball. All despite there being no Star in the setlist….although they do add a cover of The Eurythmics Love Is A Stranger as a tribute to a fellow duo who’ve trodden a similar path. Of course though, no-one does Erasure like Erasure.
Even at the back of the circle that can often be a place where you can find a moments respite, the place is packed and everyone – EVERYONE – is up and dancing away. The grand resume of Erasure across the years gets enhanced with a handful of reminders that they’re still a duo who deliver the archetypal electro pop as Neon and the Neon tour prove that there’s plenty of life, and spark in the old dogs yet.